A good time and money well spent (especially for a charitable cause)
The 27th of February saw the Southampton Aerial Sports Society (SASS) putting on their yearly showcase event in the Cube, where a host of performers showed off their pole-fitness skills to an eager audience. Part of the reason I’ve taken a while to get this written up is that one of the hardest things to review is an event where basically everything was pretty damn good. It’s hard to come up with anything fun and/or engaging when you’re just writing ‘They were all really good’ over and over.
Having been to the show last year as well, it was gratifying to see people I vaguely remembered performing again, but being one-year’s-worth-of-practice better. It was also very heartening to see a larger crowd of spectators. My biggest criticism of the last event was that it was criminally undersold, but the publicity this year was certainly better, even if there were still a few empty seats. Next time round I’d love to see this plastered far and wide because I’ve met very few people who didn’t attend this because they weren’t interested, and a good number who didn’t attend because they weren’t aware it was happening.
In terms of the performances, I’m (as usual) hamstrung by my unfamiliarity with the correct terms for all the moves performed, so I’ll keep it as broad as possible. It was very, very impressive. Even the performers billed as being members for less than a year brought their best to the show and there was a good mix of more smooth, flowing, dance-y routines to contrast the more vigorous performances. Most of the routines had at least one move—often some ridiculous upside-down act of impossible contortionism—that drew a gasp or a cheer from the crowd and there was an abundance of camaraderie and a supportive atmosphere that characterised the event as both performer and audience friendly.
Sure it wasn’t totally clean sailing. I spotted a total of two moments that looked like mistakes: but two out of so many performances is a good record especially (as I learned later) that at least one of the routines was essentially ad-libbed. But who cares? It was entertaining and any blips were either shrugged off by the performers or simply gave way to even stronger encouragement from the crowd. The only sour-note to the whole affair was the less-than-stellar performance of the two hosts. I’m told they’re guests from Comedy Soc and—while I applaud their efforts for taking on the task of introducing the acts and filling the gaps while the poles were reset—their jokes were met with at-best polite chuckles and (far more often) with cringe inducing silence. I’m not even sure why the event even needed humour awkwardly forced in; short facts about the societies or more detail about the students performing would’ve worked just fine, and probably would’ve kept the momentum up a bit. Thankfully this is all fringe material to the routines themselves, which were consistently great.
Of particular note were the guest performances by Zorena Roe, Lauren Smith and Shannon Cross; the former of which punctuated the first half with a doubles routine that seemed designed to infuriate physicists with feats of strength that should (by rights) be impossible. Zorena also finished off the show with a solo routine from her recent competitions, one that managed to combine crazy aerial gymnastics with an air of cheeky pseudo-humour.
If you want to know more check out the SASS website, or have a look at some more of the photos from the Photographic Society. And if you see anything like this advertised in future go along for a look. You won’t be disappointed.